More StarCraft II leagues, seasons coming

Also: featured replays of top matches.

Blizzard has announced that it's adding two new high-level leagues to the StarCraft II multiplayer ladder system, introducing seasons, and adding an option to view featured replays of top matches.

Battle.net project director Greg Canessa revealed the new features at BlizzCon in Anaheim, near Los Angeles, today.

Master league will be comprised of the top five per cent of players in the current top league, Diamond - the top 1 to 2 per cent of all StarCraft II players.

If that's not exclusive enough, a Grand Master league will be open to the top 200 players in each region. As well as having a prestigious icon to display, Grand Master league players will be featured on a special ladder page that the entire StarCraft community can access and browse.

Grand Master league will be introduced with StarCraft's first season rollover to season two. A new season means that players' division ranks and win/loss records will be wiped and they start from scratch (although previous stats will still be available to view). Your matchmaking rating will be preserved, however, and it will take just one match for you to be re-qualified and allocated to an appropriate division.

The all-important league icons will be changed to look "cooler" the higher-placed you are in your division, giving players a visible incentive to climb the divisional ranks.

Featured replays will be introduced on the news and community interface. These will be replays of matches between top players selected by the Blizzard community team, which play out in the StarCraft II engine and give spectators full control over the replay and stats.

Finally, Canessa noted that the much-desired chat channels had completed development, were in testing and would be rolled out "in the next couple of months".

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